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Horton Hears a Who! (DVD Review)

7 Dec, 2008 By: Laura Tiffany


Street 12/9/08
Box Office $154.5 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 two-DVD set, $39.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘G.’
Voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett.

Horton Hears a Who!, an expanded but mostly faithful animated adaptation of the beloved Dr. Seuss childhood classic, is a beautiful ode to Seuss’ loopy visuals and roundabout life lessons, with stellar voice acting and only a few missteps due to contemporary references thrown in for the kids.

The film could have stood on its own without the power ballad and anime sequence. It’s Dr. Seuss.

The extras on the disc will prove a treat for both animation and Seuss fans, making it a likely stocking stuffer for the holidays. First-time directors Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino offer a solid, though not wildly entertaining, commentary, shedding light into the thinking behind the characters, art and plot decisions.

Better are the numerous mini-docs, which cover topics such as translating the book to the big screen, Jim Carrey’s (Horton) voice work, animating Horton, facts about elephants (this one’s more for the kids), the “a person is a person” message of the film, and more.

While all are worth watching, especially the ones about animating Horton and translating Dr. Suess, “Bringing the Characters to Life” and “Meet Katie” are particularly enjoyable. The first demonstrates how animators film themselves acting out the scenes, using their own expressions and personal quirks for reference when creating the characters. The second one focuses on Katie, the creepy little yak who was originally supposed to be just a background character, but was brought to memorable life by a young animator right out of college.

Other extras include deleted footage in various stages (storyboard, rough animation, almost-final); animation screen tests for Horton, the Mayor and the Whos; a child-narrated short about what kids can do to help the “speck” they live on; and a create-your-own-animation DVD-ROM feature.

One major plus for "Ice Age" fans (but probably no one else) is the new Sid short — Surviving Sid — wherein the grating ground sloth leads campers astray as a counselor.

By the way, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is slated to hit theaters in July 2009.

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